In Texas it’s been raining off and on, mostly on, for almost two months now. Tonight as I write this blog post, it is “making down some” heavily, and I already emptied the day’s 3 inches from the rain gauges.
Here’s a quick sidebar on what I mean by a true low maintenance Elderyarding® landscape. This is your yard when it is:
- easy to love in all types of weather
- environmentally friendly in using native plants
- maintained without harmful pesticides, herbicides, or extraneous fertilizers
- easy to care for with little use of gas-powered, nosy machinery
- designed to strongly connect with your memories and support your brain
- planned, planted and furnished to connect with your unique sensory responses
- able to change easily over time as your needs change over your lifetime
For a truly low maintenance yard that is extraordinary in times of rain and not-rain, rain gauges are a fabulous tool. But, of course, rain gauges can only tell you about precipitation in a certain spot.
The other great tool is your eyesight. While it rains, look at your landscape from every window in the house, every door, and every porch perspective. Where is the rain falling off the roof?
Is everything captured in gutters? Should it be? There may be areas around the house that could benefit from water sheeting in a uniform cascade from the roof. These could be areas where the plants don’t get quite enough water, areas where you are always dragging a heavy hose to slake their thirst. Then think of the opposite. Areas under the roof overhang that need to be drier could benefit from gutter where there is none.
Next, look further into the yard. Notice where the rain is sliding from the downhill side of paved areas. This is a bit of extra water for the adjacent bed that affects which plants are happy here. Observe whether the water moves evenly from the paving or concentrates in one or two spots at the low edge.
Concentrated water can be indications of potential waterlogged soil or erosion that is beginning to develop.
When you see water behaving in ways that cause problems, it’s time to test solutions. Often very simple solutions work well. Over time, small drainage problems add up to maintenance headaches. While it’s raining is a good time to carefully study exactly what’s happening and figure out long-term solutions.
Quick fixes are exactly that – quick, and not always permanent.
Then you end up with new maintenance headaches when you least need or can take care of them. Resolving them one at a time lessens your worry, frees your time, and helps ensure that you can stay safe and healthy with any maintenance chores you do take on in your aging-in-place garden.